The Antrim Show 2012

Today we were at the Antrim Agrecultural show again.

We weren’t really sure what way we were going to work it since two of our guide dog owners couldn’t make it. I said i was willing to do all day if it was necessary. (Here in the UK we are only allowed to have our dogs fundraising for two hours at a time).

I was up in Derry on Fridday for a volunteering event and street collection. I asked if the derry branch organiser would come up to help, but told him not to worry if he couldn’t. He agreed straight away and said that as long as someone could meet him off the train, he would come no problem.

So this morning, my rehab worker collected the guide dog owner at Ballymena train station and we then headed up to the show. My rehab worker was taking his kids up too, so we had a full car.

When we got there the two dogs got very excited as there was a pen full of little beegle pups that kids could pet. Of course the dogs wanted to play!

I decided to bring two bottles of water, since there were two guide dogs. They didn’t even last 5 minutes! Inis, who was the other guide dog drank the second bottle. Ushi wanted to drink out of the bowl any time Inis did because it was her bowl. Luckily there was plenty of water available during the day.

A woman and her husband came to help us with their dog Bradey. Bradey is a retriever. The woman works at
Legal island
Who we received a presentation from for £220 back in March I think. They want to become full time volunteers which is great. The husband has a background in sales and knows people from Antrim counscil. So he was wonderful at promoting our
Go walkies
Event which i’ll post about another day. I think they will be a great help to the branch, and it means we have some volunteers from Antrim, which we didn’t have before.

I was expecting the dogs to get restless since they hadn’t done a whole day before, but they were grand and just fell asleep. Ushi did have a full flood when we took her to pee at one point lol. But that was because she was being greedy with her water! At one point the branch organiser litterally had to hold her bowl up for her since she couldn’t be bothered moving to get a drink.

It was much quieter than last year but that could have been because there were some nasty showers about. Still we raised £301. It’s down from last year, but only by £49, and it was £301 we wouldn’t have had at the start of the day.

I’m so glad we were able to work the show. Normally we would have been covered for dogs, but the other two owners were on holiday. I would like to than the Derry branch organiser for coming up from Derry. The craic was great all day.

RNIBS Response

I’m just back from a volunteer event in Derry so this will be quick. I got this post from RNIB today. I don’t know what to make of it!

Dear Torie,

Thank you for your email to Royal National Institute of Blind People
(RNIB). I am sorry for the delay in replying to you.

RNIB’s ‘Help Emma’ advert was a fundraising appeal explaining the vital
work of RNIB in supporting blind and partially sighted people across the
UK. It tells the story of nine-year old Emma, her experience of sight
loss, and the support she received from RNIB, particularly through the
talking books programme. We were inspired to develop the advert after
receiving a heartfelt letter from a young girl thanking RNIB for the
support that she’d received.

We felt this was a wonderful opportunity to tell a real-life story of
one young girl and her family. We do, however, take very seriously our
responsibility to reflect the many and varied experiences and life
situations of people who are blind or partially sighted. Therefore,
across all our RNIB communications we show a wide range of individuals
and illustrate many different aspects of people’s lives, including the
challenges and achievements.

Blind and partially sighted people are central to our work. Sight loss
can occur at any age and every individual’s experiences will be
different. Although some people cope, and indeed may cope well, with
sudden sight loss, others find it a very traumatic experience and need
support from organisations such as RNIB. Whilst people may have
different experiences throughout their life, our ambition, as we know it
is yours, is that each person who is blind or partially sighted has the
same opportunities as anybody else. Our commitment to this goal remains

Blind and partially sighted people are central to our work and helped
shape this advert. However we are very keen to receive feedback on this
and all of our films which depict the many different experiences of
sight loss in order to increase the public’s understanding. We are
grateful for the engagement and feedback that the video has provoked,
and, moving forward, will use your constructive feedback in the spirit
in which it was given.

We very much appreciate the time you have take to share your thoughts,
thank you.

If you have any further queries, or would like to know more about our
work and how you could help support us, please do not hesitate to
contact our Fundraising Support and Enquiries Team on 0845 345 0054
(Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm) or email

Kind regards
David Ireland
Fundraising Support and Enquiries Team
RNIB (Royal National Institute of Blind People)


RNIB Complaint

I wrote this email to
Earlier today. It probably doesn’t make sense and is probably written badly, but it’s away now.

Dear RNIB fundraising

I was directed to an advert you have produced about helping a little girl called Emma.

I find the way the advert was done was quite offensive and upsetting. I think the advert puts out a very bad message to the public. It portrays us as helpless and that all blind and partially sighted people are badly disabled.

I do not know what it is like to lose my sight as i am blind from birth, but i felt that the way the child was portrayed was very over the top. Yes you have some great services like the talking books and the library service, but i think there are certain parts that will portray a very bad message to the public.

Blind and partially sighted people should be portrayed as normal children. Yes i understand it is hard losing your sight as a child, but it could have maybe shown the child adapting to her circumstances etc. if a parent saw that advert and they had just received the news that their child had a sight problem, i’m sure they would find it very upsetting.

I would urge maybe a consultation by blind and partially sighted people before any future advert is put out for viewing. While you can’t please everyone, i deffinetly think it might help and could make the advert possibly more affective.


Torie Tennant

I wonder what their reply will be! Even American tweeters are disgusted.

The RNIB Ad Causing A Storm

I read a blog today that had an advert from the RNIB. The blog was saying all about the way the advert portrayed blind and partially sighted people. I clicked on it thinking it wasn’t that bad. How wrong was I!

The advert features a little girl called Emma. It talked about how Emma loved to play with her friends, read, ride her bike and count the stars as she went to sleep. That’s grand. Then it goes on to say “one day the stars gradually began to fade. Her mornings became dim and her world became a blurr” or something similar. The little girl then calls for her mum, and doesn’t know where the mother is. It then says “2 million people in the UK live with sight loss. We must help them and we must do it now”. It then says that if you donate, you’ll give a blind child their childhood.

Now, I don’t know what it is like to lose vision. But i found the whole thing very upsetting and offensive. Did I and many others not have a childhood because we couldn’t see? Did we not ride a bike, or read? Did we not know where our parents were? Were we completely helpless?

You can check out the vidio yourself

What kind of perception does this give to the public? I hope nobody in their right mind donates, or if they do, I hope they do it because they want to, not because of some pity party.

I might write a email to them about this. We can’t let them continue! There are ways to ask for donations, but not like that. If anyone wants to complain, you can do so by
Clicking here
(That’s the short link for Twitter but it should still work).

I found this advert a complete disgrace! Shameful!

I’m away to do something useful.

The 8th ADBC:Marching To Your Own Drum

I was orriginally meant to be doing this round of the carnival, but i explained back at the start of the month that i couldn’t, or rather felt i didn’t have the time. (Can’t be bothered linking to that entry). Thankfully the
Ruled by paws crowd
(Check out their new home!) stepped in to save the day.

So the topic for this months carnival is “marching to your own drum” and the link for submissions is

So now that bit is taken care of, here’s my entry.

I had an idea from the start that Ushi would be quite a stubborn little girl. When i was training on class with her, she took three days to do a big busy because she didn’t like the concrete that she had to do it on. My instructor spent about 20 minutes that first night trying to see if she would go, but she just stood there.

She also decided she wouldn’t go onto her new bed that i baught her for quite a while. I had to bribe her with treats.

About a month after qualification with Ushi, she decided to just stop. I thought i had done something wrong but it was just Ushi being a bit of a madam. She still stops, or tries to, but i just tell her to get on with it.

When it rains, Ushi will try to walk me as close as she can to bushes and things so she doesn’t get her paws wet. It takes me about 10 minutes longer to get out of our estate because of it. One day she decided to walk me into a lamp post! Luckily the brim of my hat got it, but i wasn’t a happy bunny and made sure to let Ushi know that!

Ushi can be very determined sometimes, and is very keen to go places i don’t particularly want to go at that time! She will stand in front of me until i nearly have to push her over to get us onto the right track (of course i don’t actually push her).

I often say that i don’t think Ushi is a propper lab. She eats her food, but she doesn’t like to work for it (I had to give away a kong wobbler because she wouldn’t use it), and will only eat it if it is there. She gets bored of her toys quickly much to the annoyance of my pocket!

She doesn’t like walking over manhole covers, or anything metal.

She is deffinetly the queen of her castle here at home and knows it. She just walks around like she own the place.

Despite all her little quirks, I love having her and wouldn’t change her. She can be quite a chalenge sometimes though!

This has been my rather pulled together submission for the 8th assistance dog blog carnival. But i thought i’d give my readers a little insite into her little ways. (Most of you will already have read in detail about her personality but for anyone else, here she is).

Me working my dog Ushi in my local town.  This was used in our local paper.

RIP Wee Ash

Yesterday after writing my post about Ash
Not having long to go
Things took a turn for the worse. She started whining every so often, but we thought it was because she couldn’t move but wanted to. She was very whiney today and they seemed to last longer.

At about three o’clock mum said she let out this massive howl, and mum went in to find her gone. She was very hard around her belly so i think she may have had kidney failure. I was out at the time so sent mum the number for the vet. The vet didn’t come out, so mums partner took her up in a taxi. It was £25 for the vets to dispose of her body. I think it is disgusting, but maybe that’s just me. The vet said that if we wanted we could have kept Ash until Monday, but i don’t think that would have been wise. The smell would have been one thing, and the amount of gas that would have probably built up inside her body wouldn’t have been good.

We had talked this morning about taking her up to the vet on Monday if things hadn’t improved, but thankfully she made the decision herself.

To be honest i never really bonded with her, but i’m just so glad that she went in her own time.

Run free little Ash girlie. You can bark as much as you want now, and you’ll not have to worry. You won’t be in any pain. Rest in peace wee one and sorry you’re last hours were so painful. I’m just glad you weren’t a young dog in a way.

Not Long Left

I was going to write this post a couple of days ago but i kept putting it off hoping things would be better.

A few days ago, our springer
Went off her food and found it a little difficult to get up our back step. I thought nothing too strange about this as she does this every few weeks but recovers within a day or so. Not this time i’m afraid. She has had to be carried in and out the past couple of days. I thought things were improving as she went out and lay in one of our hedges and wriggled further and further in whenever i tried to reach her to get her out. Mum even came out to try and get her back in but she just wriggled in to the tangles of it. We had to leave her in there until the next morning. That probably hasn’t helped her, but it wasn’t cold or wet and we just physically couldn’t reach her.

Mum has started cooking sausages for her and she is barely eating them. She won’t touch her normal food at all. She is still drinking, and has started kind of sliding on her belly to get to where she wants to go but her back legs aren’t working at all. She doesn’t seem to be in pain, but we don’t know. She isn’t yelping or anything.

I don’t think she has long left to be honest. I tried convincing mum to take her to the vet the other day when it started up again, but mum wouldn’t because she is afraid she would be put down. Mum feels very guilty as she took her after my aunt died. (My aunt lived with my granny who did most of the looking after since my aunt was too ill to care for her). Nobody else would take her because she was too old. So mum would feel very guilty if she had to be put down. I think she knows that Ash doesn’t have long left either but i just wish she would stop feeling guilty. I mean she needs to think of Ash now.

I’m hoping in a way that Ash goes naturally rather than us having to make the decision for her. I know it is an awful thing, but she is 13 so if things don’t improve, i’m going to mention it to mum. I know nobody wants to make that decision, but we might have to make it pretty soon if things don’t improve.

When we got her, she was pretty healthy, but has lost her hearing, she can’t hold herself for too long in the toilet department, has developed pretty horrible breath, and has the trouble getting up now.

So i’m really hoping she goes in her own time.

It’s never easy losing a pet but she has lived a good life and when we got her she was 12 so we knew she might not live that long. I sort of figured something might be up last week as ushi was spending alot more time downstairs, and at one point wouldn’t come upstairs until i went to get her for bed.

I’m dreading talking to mum but i know it is for the best.

I’ll let you know how things go, but pray that Ash knows when her time to go is.